When Piper Kerman was incarcerated for a year on a ten year-old drug charge, she ran everyday around the track to keep from losing her mind. The kindness of fellow inmates in this stripped-down world provided her comfort. This book reminded me of the redemptive qualities of running. And although this story is not about running, it plays an intimate part in the outcome. Running sometimes saves us from ourselves. It can provide peace to a troubled mind or solace to a busy soul. It can act as a catalyst to knowing that we are capable of coming back from pain. If life is like a race, we keep running, even when it really hurts.
The unexpected friendships that developed for Piper within the walls of the prison camp brought to mind threads of running friendships. Although not even comparable to prison life, a shared experience of long training hours and personal triumphs (reduced to the toughness and the kindness within us) can bring forth some of the most unlikely bonds. True colors are shown and respect is earned. Humor and connection trump competition and rivalry.
Orange is the New Black – My Year in A Women’s Prison is a really good read that opens your eyes to the injustices within the walls of our prisons. So much of it made me cringe. Piper is one tough cookie. I could not put this one down and was left wanting more.
If you’re looking for more about this book and Piper Kerman, see these videos and interviews: